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Well today saw the arrival of Adobe Lightroom Version 4, which having tried the beta, I have eagerly been waiting for.

The new version has a number of new features not least of which is the integrated ‘Book’ module. This new module allows you to design photo books right in Lightroom using a large number of predesigned templates, unfortunately for now there is no ability to create your own. You can modify the size of apertures (make them smaller, not larger) while laying out a page and you can zoom an image in and out, so there is a bit of control but not much.

The book module is integrated directly to Blurb though you can also produce a PDF from the laid out book. I would imagine that over time we will see other publishers being made available. I’m a little surprised that since there is such tight integration to Blurb that the template editor available in the desktop version of Booksmart has not been incorporated, let’s hope that this is something that will be addressed in the not too distant future. I think it should be said that this is a long overdue feature which still has a long way to go. Even a simple thing such as putting the book title and author on the spine is not simple, in Booksmart these are 2 separate fields, in Lightroom it’s one field so if you want the title to be left aligned and the author right aligned you need lots of ‘tabs’ in-between, not the smartest implementation in the world!

There is now also a map module which allows photos to be geotagged and displayed on a Google map, useful for cameras that have built-in GPS. You can drag photos on to a location and GPS coordinates will be put into the metadata of the image, if you want specific location information, such as the city/country, you still need to put this in manually. Just a little word of caution here, I have experienced a little bug when moving off the map module, it would not let me, just kept coming up with an error box. Luckily on restarting Lightroom everything worked fine.

I do like the way the the develop module as be improved, there are still 6 tone sliders but the way they work have been altered allowing for much greater tonal control over the image. The screen grabs below show the new and old panel after an auto tone has been carried out on identical images.

The auto tone function has also been fine tuned to coincide with the other changes and as the two images below show, there is certainly a big difference in the processing. With careful adjustment of the sliders it is now possible to get very good results from less than perfectly exposed images and for there to be little loss of detail.

Lightroom V4

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Lightroom V3

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From what I’ve seen so far of the product I think that it is well worth the upgrade. There is still room for improvement but I’m sure that will come in time. As far as I’m concerned it’s still the best of the bunch and I’ve tried a number of them including Aperture, iView and a number of lesser know ones too.

 

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